The Lord of the Rings is a work of extraordinary scope and imagination; a world filled with such vivid detail, it has enthralled fans of all ages for over seventy years.
In fact, there is so much detail that scholars have been plumbing its depths for decades, and they are showing no sign of running out of material. It is small wonder, then, that there are aspects of the work that have left fans more than a little baffled.
Director Peter Jackson’s movie adaptation compounded the problem by taking an over five-hundred page epic novel and condensing it into a six-hour-plus theatrical trilogy, a process that left plenty of important details on the cutting room floor.
Thus, fans have had to wrestle with some complex questions, and lacking answers have thrown up their hands and put these unanswered questions forward as plot holes.
Most of these questions were raised by the films, and some apply also to the books, but all have been bouncing around the Internet for many a year.
It’s time to address those questions.
We’ll look to the books, the movies, and simple logic, to dispel the confusion and settle the matter once and for all. These are the most persistent Lord of the Rings head-scratchers we can definitively debunk.
10. George RR Martin's "Flaw" In The Ending
Martin's comments on RotK's ending and Aragorn's rule are as such:
"What does that constitute, ruling "wisely and well?" I mean, what was his (Aragon’s) tax policy? How did the economy function under him? Did he encourage trade? Did he discourage it? What about the class system, the rising peasantry and the burgeoning middle class? Were those encouraged or put down, did he give power to the aristocracy?
The orcs - there are still tens, thousands, of orcs left over at the end of Lord of the Rings. Did he pursue a policy of genocide toward them? Or did he reach out to try to educate the orcs, bring them into the mainstream, and civilize them?"
What Martin wants is exposition, but it is exposition that lies outside the scope of the story.
Tolkien is on record as stating that he wanted to create a mythology, and myth as a genre is focused on the great deeds of heroes, not the minutia of governance. Game of Thrones is a story about politics, and politics is intimately tied to governance. Thus it makes sense for Martin to cover it, but not for Tolkien.
Had the two authors met, Martin would have got his answers, but sadly that was not to be.